Monday, 17 November 2014

Retro Review - Sega Rally Championship (Arcade, Saturn, PS2, PC)

Sega doing what Sega do best!

There have been many, many arcade racing games over the years, but some stand the test of time better than others. For every amazing and instantly gratifying title that can still be enjoyed 10 or more years after its original release, there are a hundred other bland, generic and instantly forgettable games out there. While racers on home consoles have evolved over time to offer more depth, more cars, more customisation, more tracks and more content in general, it's the simpler, less complicated arcade racers that hold up in the all important fun and replayability stakes. Each Gran Turismo or Forza game automatically renders its predecessor void as they focus heavily on realistic visuals while games such as Daytona USA and Outrun 2006 never lose their appeal. It's no coincidence that I use two Sega games as examples, as they are truly the masters of the genre. Almost every racer they have released has set the bar for the time, provided more thrill and spills than anything else out there, and provided a template for others to imitate, yet never better. The aforementioned Daytona USA and Outrun 2006 are two of the best games in their genre, but it is Sega Rally Championship that gets my vote for, not only best arcade racing game of all time, but racing game overall.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Wolfenstein 3D demo ROM released for Sega Mega Drive


Great news for both retro console gamers and fans of the original first person shooter Wolfenstein 3D as it has finally found its way onto the Sega Mega Drive. Back in 1994, the Super Nintendo was lucky enough to get a port of Id Software's ground breaking title, but it was a heavily censored and very feeble looking port that wasn't a patch on the PC original. Still, it played well enough and was extremely popular. Now Mega Drive owners can finally get some payback as this unofficial port by Gasega68k blows the SNES version out of the water. It features a far less pixellated look that is much closer to the PC version, and the scrolling is incredibly smooth for the 16-bit system. Indeed, the whole affair is incredibly impressive, with 6-button controller support, digitised speech, the ability to save your game and graphical filters to further enhance the look of the game - though these, naturally, would only work on an emulator. 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Review - Ziggurat (PC) Awesome Old School Fantasy FPS


Don't be a Heretic, play this new fantasy FPS!

Fantastic news for those of you whom, like myself, adore the classic old school first person shooters of yesteryear. None of this Call of Modern Halo Fighter 4 bullshit for me thanks. I want fast paced, satisfying action, not tedious, po-faced military shooters filled with lengthy cutscenes and constant Q.T.Es. Games such as Doom 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake 1 - 3 and Half-Life are still yet to be bettered and play exceptionally well many years after their original release. It's no wonder all of those titles are still supported by talented modders, with a wealth of exciting and original content to spice up the solid mechanics and gameplay provided in the original titles. Many indie developers have tried to recreate these classic games, but always fail - seeming to miss out the vital ingredients that made the games they are trying to emulate so special. This could be down to poor level or character design, weedy guns that provide zero satisfaction, boring environments to explore, or the addition of unnecessary gimmicks. Both Wrack and Rogue Shooter are recent examples of how not to pay tribute to the classic FPS, and now we have Ziggurat to show us that a decent indie old school FPS is indeed possible.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Review - Behind You (PlayStation Mobile) Fun indie stealth game for your Vita!



Some games seem to want to remain anonymous. That's the only conclusion I can come to when faced with titles like Behind You, a small indie title I recently stumbled across on the PlayStation Mobile section of the Vita's Store page. You see, I could not find any information on the whole of the interweb regarding this cute, Japanese stealth action affair. It had a release date on Metacritic, but that's all I could find, hence you will see I have had to resort to taking screenshots of the game using my camera phone (yes really)! Though, the irony of a stealth game being hard to track down is not lost on me.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Classic PC DOS 'Mario Kart clone' Wacky Wheels getting an HD Remake


In the early 1990's if you were a PC only gamer, you missed out on a wealth of fantastic games on the 16-bit home consoles, but there were always alternatives. Apogee were one of the great developers of the time, churning out a plethora of enjoyable, console-like titles for DOS gamers. One of my personal favourites was their blatant clone of the insanely popular (and insanely awesome) SNES title Super Mario Kart. Featuring a similar graphical style, as well as cutesy critters in karts, it made no attempt to cover up the fact that it was trying desperately hard to be just like Nintendo's racer. But this mattered not as it was a great game in its own right. I had a great deal of fun racing around the well designed and colourful tracks, blasting the other racers with hedgehog weapons and bouncing over obstacles. Sure, it was nowhere near as good as Super Mario Kart, but it was a great alternative option.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Review - Lovely Planet (PC)


Sugar Coated FPS

As a huge, huge fan of old school, 90's style first person shooters I usually take the time to play anything even remotely resembling classic titles such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, so it was mere seconds between me seeing Lovely Planet on Steam and making a purchase. Sure, the graphics looked cutesy and twee, but I figured it could be a wonderfully humorous combination of Doom and Super Mario Bros. Unfortunately I was left painfully disappointed by the incredibly linear stages and the simplistic 'infinite runner' style gameplay.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Review - Rogue Legacy (Vita, PS3, PS4)


Grindhouse

Back in October 2013 I reviewed Rogue Legacy on PC. Now, 10 months later, this roguelike platformer has found its way to Sony's fantastic and painfully underrated Vita console. And do you know what? I had a far more enjoyable time with it this time around. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, Rogue Legacy is a 2d platformer in which you explore a Castlevania-esque castle, defeating baddies with your sword and spells, collecting as much loot as you can. Upon your death you choose a new character, spend the loot you gathered before dying on stats and equipment upgrades, and enter a completely new, randomly generated castle to do it all over again. The aim being to level yourself up enough to face off against one of the four bosses located in the four different areas that make up the game world.